IRS Fired 71 for Misconduct Using Provisions of New Law

A new law has been used as a basis for firing 71 IRS employees over a period of several years.

Between July 198 and September 2002, the Internal Revenue Service fired 71 employees for misconduct. The agency used a providion of a 1998 IRS reform law according to the General Accounting Office.

The new law was passed in response to allegations about IRS abuses such as harassing taxpayers. It defined 10 things that could lead to an IRS employee being fired. The provision is section 1203 of the 1998 IRS reform law.

Most employees were fired for failing to file a federal tax return on time or understating tax liability (a major offense if you work for the Internal Revenue Service). Some of the other offenses included threatening to audit a return for personal gain of the employee, falsifying or destroying documents or assault and battery (only one of these).

The GAO also noted that the law may have had a “chilling effect” on the willingness of IRS employees to take enforcement action against taxpayers (or, perhaps, people who should be taxpayers but haven’t paid). At least some employees have not taken actions because they were afraid of the consequences of the new law, such as being fired if they didn’t do the right thing.

The GAO report also said that the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General (IRS is part of the Treasury Department) have taken steps to correct some of the problems with section 1203.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47